Medical tourism receipts to see 25% rise

Among the areas that local hospitals excel at are cardiology, fertility and cosmetic surgery


Medical expertise in Malaysian private hospitals is expected to attract more international patients, with receipts collected from these travellers poised to grow 25% to RM1.8 billion this year.

Last year, the industry grew 14% to RM1.5 billion in receipts from some 1.2 million medical tourists.

According to Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) CEO Sherene Azli (picture), enhanced efforts are underway to promote Malaysia as an international destination for treatments in high-value medical areas.

Among the areas that Malaysian hospitals excel at are cardiology, oncology, fertility, orthopaedics and cosmetic surgery.

“We target to promote treatments that have a high return. Our goal is to make Malaysia the leading global healthcare destination,” Sherene told reporters last Friday.

She added that Malaysia has become a preferred medical treatment destination globally due to its high treatment quality, accessibility and competitive costs.

“Malaysia’s cutting-edge technology and state-of-theart facilities in the fields of cardiology and fertility have propelled the country into a hub for both these treatments.”

Malaysia’s medical tourism has been growing between 16% and 17% year-on-year over the last five years, outperforming the global industry’s average growth of between 10% and 12%.

MHTC’s aim is to position Malaysia as the Asian hub for fertility and cardiology, as well as the leading global destination for healthcare travel.

It also has an aim of achieving RM2.8 billion in medical tourism revenue in 2020, with an estimated economic impact of RM10 billion towards the country’s economy.

International Living magazine’s Annual Global Retirement Index had voted Malaysia as the “Best Country in the World for Healthcare” in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 — ahead of France, Thailand, Ecuador, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Such a gold standard in the healthcare sector also pushed the country to be ranked as the world’s fifth-best places to retire in 2019 by International Living.

According to Sherene, Indonesians make up about 60% of medical tourists in Malaysia, while the remaining are mainly from China and the Middle East region.

Sherene said MHTC — an agency under the Finance Ministry — is mainly targeting tourists from countries within a six-hour flight to Malaysia.

MHTC promotes 76 private medical facilities in Malaysia which are registered under the agency.


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